Buddy Holly, for those of us too young to remember, was an American musician and singer-songwriter, who pioneered rock and roll in the mid-1950s.
And even though he only had a two-year long career before his untimely death in 1959, there’s a massive fan-base for Buddy Holly out there.
So much so, that one Aussie entertainer, Scot Robin, has made a 28-year career out of performing Buddy Holly’s music for some wild crowds.
‘I didn’t want a nine-to-five’
With a burning passion for music and the arts, Robin said he was always headed for the bright lights of stardom.
“I didn't want a nine to five job,” Robin said, instead wanting to pursue his passion of being in rock and roll.
At one stage, he even considered heading over to Los Angeles, but says the ‘Buddy thing came along and just took over’.
The ‘Buddy thing’ he refers to is The Buddy Holly Story, which came to Australia in 1991 after huge success overseas.
At about the right age and the right height for Buddy Holly, and possessing front-man energy, Robin was chosen to play Buddy for two years.
And continuing his passion for the arts was never not an option, with the closing of the musical leading to Robin starting his own show touring around Australia and the world with Buddy Holly in Concert.
“[At first] it was more looked upon as a hobby and it was sort of like, ‘Yeah, you need to have something to fall back on’.”
“And I thought if you have something to fall back on, you won't make it.”
“If you’ve got a safety net, you'll always say, ‘Oh, if I don't make it, it's okay.’”
“But if you have to keep the lights on and the rent paid and sit on the table from what, the only thing that you know how to do, then you'll succeed, is my view.”
The perks of being Buddy
The saying ‘with great risk comes great reward’ doesn’t come from nowhere.
While the Australian entertainment industry doesn’t have a history of leading to insanely lucrative careers, being Buddy’s been ‘all rock and roll’.
“I'm doing cruises over to Hawaii and Tahiti and through Japan and Vietnam and I'm just, I'm on this massive holiday and I do my gig and then I'm back to my cabin and then I'm eating like a rock star and by the pool. And it’s work,” he said.
On top of that, Robin was even invited by Buddy’s family to the musician’s hometown over in America.
“I got to go over and perform for the family and Buddy's original band. They gave me a big hug and said, ‘Look, what you're doing is wonderful and we're glad that you're doing it and keeping his music alive.’”
“And so for me that was...yeah that was brilliant. To have the actual family of the guy whose music I was performing, tell me I'm doing a good job, was pretty phenomenal for me.”
And Robin’s a father too, so being Buddy meant he had plenty of time for his daughter, Bridie.
“I was a stay-at-home dad with Bridie. I'd get her from school every day, I was with her for every single holiday, so the perks were phenomenal.”
But it’s not just lights, camera, action
“I'm my own promoter with half the shows that I do, so I book all the theaters and book the musicians and flights and accommodation and car hires and promote it.”
And there’s lots more to do behind the scenes, Robin said, because the Australian entertainment industry doesn’t do you any favours.
“There's not a lot of money and it's not because it's not supported, it's just because we don't have the population.”
And if you’ve got it, work for it
Robin’s advice to budding Aussie entertainers is that business and talent go hand in hand.
“You can’t have one without the other,” he said.
“It's called the music business and you've got to know the business part of the industry, you can't just hope that someone one day is going to go, ‘Hey, you're really good and we're going to make you a star.’”
“You have to know how the music industry works and that's agents, that's promoters - and know how to look after your money and promote yourself and just put yourself out there.”
But Robin said it really comes down to one thing: “Get ahead of everyone and just work your ass off.”
And if you can perform and get a fan-base as well as master the business-side of things, “then you've got a really good chance of cracking it.”
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